"heat spreader"

My friend and I were having a heated debate about the pentium 4 heat spreader and what it's all about. I say that it's just a cover to prevent overclockers from unlocking the multiplier, like on the athlon. Here's my reasoning: if the peps at intel were actuallying intending that there be good heat removal system for their cpu, then they'd just leave the core exposed because putting a heat spreader between the core and the heat sink, wouldn't the core not be able to release as muh heat since there are two heat transfering interfaces instead of one, like on athlon?

My friend's theory is that it's exactly what it says it is and that it helps in the cooling process by spreading the heat out. I probably didn't make it sound as good as he did, but you get the idea.

So, what do YOU think?

PS we assumed that the heat spreader was aluminum or an aluminum oxide, can some one verify this?

I saw this on a bumper sticker once: "Unlike computers, women reject 3.5 inch floppies."
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  1. You're wrong. The heat spreader is there to protect the fragile core from chipping. It also acts like it's name implies, a heat spreader. Have you ever seen an aluminum cooler with a copper plate on the bottom? Guess what the heat spreader is made of-again. Copper. It's plated with a soft silvery metal which I believe to be tin, based on it's softness and shine.


    <font color=blue>At least half of all problems are caused by an insufficient power supply!</font color=blue>
  2. could you supply a reason please?

    I saw this on a bumper sticker once: "Unlike computers, women reject 3.5 inch floppies."
  3. Crash is correct. Its plated copper.

    Also, the multipliers on a Pentium are not under that heat spreader. They are on the die itself. Meaning, even if you got the spreader off, you still couldnt unlock the multipliers.
    IMO the heat speader sucks as a heat spreader. I dont think it does that too well. But whatever.

    Benchmarks are like sex, everybody loves doing it, everybody thinks they are good at it.
  4. Er, reread the post please! Also, where would you get the idea that removing it would allow one to unlock the multiplier? The multiplier is locked inside the core itself, not externally.

    <font color=blue>At least half of all problems are caused by an insufficient power supply!</font color=blue>
  5. reread what post? *** oh, i see, I think when i first saw it for some reason, all I saw was, you're wrong. i must be going crazy...

    And how do you all know that's it's plated copper?

    I think the heat spreader isn't a very good heat spreader either, texas techie. As I said, wouldn't the heatsink be able to do it's job better if there wasn't a middle man?

    I got the impression that to unlock the multiplier, you'd just have to get under the cover because the athlon multiplier can be unlocked by crossing the visible L1 bridges. It's not like it's common knowledge that you couldn't unlock the multiplier even if there wasn't a cover. I don't need to be talked down to.

    As stated, since the heat spreader doesn't seem like a practicle cooling device, I figured that there must be another reason. I guessed that it was to hide something to prevent overclocking, and I don't think anyone would say that it was an unreasonable guess with the fact that I didn't know you couldn't unlock a p4 multiplier that easily in mind.

    There's nothing worse than a computer discussion gone personal...<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by danielwong125 on 07/18/02 00:42 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
  6. dude, you're just plain WRONG! I've REMOVED the heat spreader before! There is nothing under it but the core and some gray compound! Like I said, I believe the main reason for it is to PROTECT the core from CRACKING, I'm sure if you look hard enough you'll find HUNDREDS of pictures of Athlons with a cracked core but NOT ONE P4 with a cracked core!

    When I removed the IHS, I noted that it was copper by the redish yellow color of the metal where I scratched the silvery metal off.

    As far as cooling, removing the IHS had no significant impact when I did it. But supposedly, a second reason for it is to provide a larger surface area for contact with the heatsink. In this capacity, Copper (which it IS made of) does a good job.

    <font color=blue>At least half of all problems are caused by an insufficient power supply!</font color=blue>
  7. The P3 didn't allow you to unlock and its core was exposed. Why would the P4 be any different? The multiplier is embedded in the sram, there's really no way to unlock it short of retracing the circuits.
    As for the heatspreader on the P4, like any extra stage that heat has to transfer through, it won't be as good as if heat were directly transfered to a heatsink. However, the benefits (a more sturdy CPU, easier install, etc.) far outweighs what little conductivity is lost. Also remember that Intel chips default aluminum heatsinks with the P4 and that's what the majority of people use. Not everyone has a copper heatsink. The heatspreader would help out a lot in this case as aluminum, if directly in contact with the core, would not absorb as much heat.
  8. I was just saying that my guess wasn't a bad one and that you don't need to get all excited about it.

    oh, ok

    So, I was half right, in that it really doesn't HELP the cooling process, or at least in your opinion? And I didn't ask how you knew because I doubted, just that it seems like something people wouldn't know.

    There's nothing worse than a computer discussion gone personal...
  9. I get the point about the multiplier, ok? It's not like I'm not making any sense here...

    So, what you're saying is that if I used a copper heat sink, that having the heat spreader is not an advantage? Because you're saying it would help for people using all aluminum heatsinks.

    So you agree that the "heat spreader" is not really for spreading heat? You listed sturdier cpu and easier install as reasons you see the p4 has it.

    There's nothing worse than a computer discussion gone personal...
  10. The heat spreader could help on an aluminum sink, just like the copper core on some aluminum sinks does. Not by much though.

    <font color=blue>At least half of all problems are caused by an insufficient power supply!</font color=blue>
  11. Thank you for simplifying what I said.

    <font color=blue>At least half of all problems are caused by an insufficient power supply!</font color=blue>
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